Tag Archives: 1980s

Screamer of the Week: When Doves Cry by Prince and the Revolution. This Week in 1984.

WDCCover
I clearly remember the very first time I heard ‘When Dove Cry.’ It was May 1984 and I was in my bedroom listening to WLIR. The station mainly played New Wave so when I heard the DJ announce he was about to play a new song by Prince I assumed it was another ‘Prince’, possibly some Brit paying an ironic homage to the royal family. But as soon as the song began I stopped caring who was singing. I needed to focus on the music. The following is a completely factual moment by moment account of my first time listening to this song.


0:00 Little do I know my musical world is about to change.

0:00 – :20 Beginning a song with an electric guitar solo? That’s odd. And wait a second, guitar solos belong on rock records – so why am I now hearing a dance beat?  And why has the guitar morphed into something that sounds like an asthmatic robot saying ‘nyah nyah nyah’? This has got to be the strangest opening of any song I’ve ever heard. And . . . I think I love it!

:30 – 1:30  I don’t know what else is about to happen, but right now, in this moment, I think this is the best song I’ve ever heard. Period. Everything I’m hearing is different and amazing. I love the singer’s voice (it sounds both atonal and melodic). The lyrics are surreal and sexy ( ‘Animals strike curious poses’? I’m going to put some energy into figuring out what that means). And that drum beat.  I don’t think I’ve ever really paid attention to the way drums sound until now but there’s something so different and distinctive about the way these drums sound. They crunch and echo. I need to turn this song up! WDCVinyl

1:45 – It’s official – this is definitely the best song I’ve ever heard!

1:50 Oh wait – why am I not taping this?! (As I head to press the play + record buttons on my boom box – a revelation!) … hold up – I can’t start the recording half way through. That seems wrong. Blasphemous. This song deserved to be recorded from start to finish. I owe that to the song. I owe it to myself!!

2:05 Ok – here comes the chorus again – let me try to figure out what he’s singing about:

How Can U Just Live Me Standing

Alone in a World So Cold

Maybe I’m Just 2 Demanding

Maybe I’m Just Like My Father – 2 Bold

Maybe You’re Just Like My Mother

She’s Never Satisfied

Why Do we Scream at Each Other

This is what is sounds like

When Doves Cry

princewdc1Hmmmm –  could this be the same Prince who sings 1999 and Little Red Corvette? Is this song about his family? His girlfriend?

3:00 ( Note – The one memory of this experience that isn’t crystal clear is whether I started dancing. Trust me, there would be many times I would dance along to “When Doves Cry” in my bedroom (many times in ’84 and as recently as two weeks ago) but I can’t recall whether this happened during this first listen. Let’s just say that IF I danced – I would have probably started right about now).

4:15 – I don’t want the song to end. The song doesn’t sound like it wants to end. More guitar solos.  High pitched shrieks. A synthesizer that sounds like an electronic chorus of violins. Now the singer is harmonizing with himself in some high-pitched falsetto. Now he’s just singing “don’t cry’ over and over again and it sounds weird and brilliant.

And finally that synthesizer is back and wraps it all up. The song ended and some other song started and I was floored. Before I knew it was performed by Prince and before I knew it was the single from what would be one of the greatest soundtracks of all time I fell in love with that song. revolution

When Doves Cry went on to win WLIR’s Screamer of the Week competition and I had many opportunities to record it. It remains one of my favorite songs of all time. Over 30 years I’ve listened to this song on cassette, vinyl, CD, and MP3 – and every time it feels like a gift.

Additional Screamer of the Week posts:

The Psychedelic Furs – Heaven

The Thompson Twins – You Take Me Up

R.E.M. – Pretty Persuasion

Thompson Twins – Sister of Mercy

Under the Influence: 92.7 WLIR

radiodial2In 1984 I had two favorite radio stations that each had a very different, but equally profound affect on my musical taste. There was 107.5 WBLS, which featured my favorite DJ – the ‘Chief Rocker’ Frankie Crocker. Every weekday from 4p-8p he’d spin R&B hits but also play everything from the Tom Tom Club to James Moody. On the opposite end of the dial, and the musical spectrum, was WLIR.

wlir292.7 WLIR played New Wave (also known as Alternative, New Music and Modern Rock – why so many names?). I don’t remember why I started listening or how I found out about it but I know for a fact I didn’t stumbled across the station. WLIR was located near Hempstead, Long Island  – just about 25 miles from my home in Brooklyn. But the station’s signal wasn’t very strong so I’d have to perform all sorts of high-tech feats to get a clear signal (my most effective method was to interlace the antenna of my boom box through the Venetian blind slats in my bedroom window).

daretobedifferentThe station’s tag line was “Dare to Be Different’ – which worked for me (and probably every other teen listening). One of the ways I decided to explore my feelings of otherness and oddness was through music. A young Black kid listening to R&B and Hip Hop was expected. But what if that kid started listening to Euyrthmics or The Smiths? Then that kid was different. He was a bit of freak.  I wasn’t ready to ‘freak out’ in other ways –  so I bought Culture Club records and hung U2 posters on my bedroom wall (I hedged my bets by hanging a Tina Turner Private Dancer poster right next to U2).

Plus – the music was great.

When the radio waves cooperated WLIR introduced me to great artists like Duran Duran, R.E.M., INXS, Thompson Twins, and Psychedelic Furs. And best of all – every week the station would allow viewers to vote and choose the best new song of the week.  The station’s DJ’s (Donna Donna, Malibu Sue, Larry the Duck) would each rally behind one song and attempt to convince listeners to pick their ‘Screamer of the Week’. The DJ’s were passionate and knowledgable and they helped shape the musical taste of countless teens in Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island. So much of this blog is a testament to that station’s influence. The right music at the right time.

Additional Screamer of the Week posts:

The Psychedelic Furs – Heaven

The Thompson Twins – You Take Me Up

Prince and the Revolution – When Doves Cry

R.E.M. – Pretty Persuasion

Thompson Twins – Sister of Mercy

The Fat Boys are Back (and You Know They Can Never Be Wack)

Fat Boys Cover1984 was a year of amazing firsts in rap music. Those 12 months were filled with debuts that would forever change the game. Highlights include:

Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons launch Def Jam Records.

LL Cool J releases his first single, “I Need a Beat.”

The Beastie Boys release their first single, “Rock Hard.”

Run-D.M.C. release their debut self-titled album.

The Fat Boys release their first album.

Now you might look at this list and think, ‘one of these things is not like the other…’ – but (on the 30th anniversary of the release of their debut album) I want to give a little love and respect to The Fat Boys. Herewith:
5 Reasons You Should Remember The Fat Boys as More Than Just a Novelty Act.

5. The Fun. Once upon a time there was a moment in music history when rap was fun. Rappers took their music seriously but still managed to have a sense of humor. The Fat Boys excelled at the art of being goof balls while displaying skills that demanded respect. In other words – they had confidence. You don’t change your group’s name from The Disco 3 to The Fat Boys without a sense of humor and self-possession.

4. The Beatbox. Big Buff Love, the Human Beatbox (along with Doug E. Fresh) elevated beatboxing to an art form. I hear that sound and I’m immediately transported back in time to 1984. I admit I attempted to beatbox in my bedroom (who didn’t?) but, 30 years later, I have yet to go public with my skills.


3. The Rhymes. The Fat Boys are responsible for what is, in my opinion, one of the greatest rhymes in rap history (from “The Fat Boys are Back”):

I’m starving, I’m in the mood

plain and simple I need food!

Hemingway and Carver would envy this spare, yet powerful verse. This has been my mantra on many occasions.

2. The Borough. ‘Brooklyn Keeps On Takin It’

With proper respect to Queens (for giving us  RUN-D.M.C. and my favorite hip hop group, A Tribe Called Quest) The Fat Boys are part of a select  group of legendary rappers to hail from New York’s greatest borough (yes, I did). Hip Hop would not be the same without the contributions of Brooklyn rappers Big Daddy Kane, Jay-Z, Mos Def, Notorious B.I.G., Talib Kweli, MC Lyte,  AND The Fat Boys. Before Brooklyn churned out artisanal cheeses and craft beers, it gave us hip hop artists who would sell millions of records and elevate the art form of rap.

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Eurythmics’ Lasting Embrace

eurythmics 2Touch is the album responsible for my 30 year love affair with Eurythmics. Like most of the western world I discovered the duo via their hit “Sweet Dreams,” in 1983. It’s undeniably one of the great pop songs of the 80’s. But Touch is the album that grabbed me and turned me into a fan, but also something more than a fan.

I can remember memorizing and analyzing the lyrics to each and every song; staring at the album cover as the record spun on my turntable; and, in non-cable-ready 1980’s Brooklyn, staying up until 12:30 AM at the end of the week hoping Friday Night Videos would play one of their songs. Although I practiced the same level of near religious devotion with many other bands at the time – there was something about Eurythmics’ music that had meaning for me, connected with me on a personal level, perhaps, more than any other. Somehow this new wave group from the UK perfectly synced with the sensibilities of a 16-year old African-American kid from Crown Heights – and that relationship has endured for 30 years. It feels almost impossible for me to sum up how and why I feel the way I do about this band in a single post – – so let’s do this in stages. Let’s start off by talking about Annie Lennox’s voice.

A voice that simultaneously sends chills down your spine and warms your heart. At one moment you feel like the singer is turning her back on you and the next, running towards you for an embrace. Within one song she conjures a myriad of emotions – love, anger, fear, hope.  The voice is vulnerable. It’s brittle. It soothes and it twists the knife.

Read the lyrics of the first four lines of “Who’s That Girl,” the first song on Side B.

The language of love

slips from my lover’s tongue

Cooler than Ice cream

and warmer than the sun

This person she sings about sounds pretty great. You’d want to wake up next to him every morning, right? But listen to her sing these lines and immediately it’s a completely different story.

Even without hearing the rest of the song you’re suspicious of this lover – his motives, his actions, his words. What Is Lennox conveying – is it nostalgia tinged with cynicism? A mixture of joy shadowed by fear? Continue listening and you know it’s all of the above. Yes, love is a stranger, but it’s also a minefield –  and an unfaithful lover is just one of the dangers leading to a broken heart.

As a teenager you begin to take steps into adulthood without realizing it. If you’re lucky, you fall in love for the first time and begin to understand how surprisingly complex relationships can be. Sometimes you have moments of pure, easy joy. And then eruptions of jealousy and fear. For me, the music of Eurythmics and other pop bands were like a little pocket manual. “Oh – I’ve never felt this specific feeling before – but it does remind me of what Annie/Michael//Tina/Daryl/Paul are singing about.”

Now, pop music is less of a manual and more of a beacon – a way for me to remember and reconnect with some of the feelings and experiences I had 30 years ago. And Annie Lennox guides me back like no one else.

Number One this Week in 1984: Lionel Richie’s Hello

lionel-richie-hello-1984Every time a Lionel Richie song went to the top of the charts in 1984 it was a victory for the Average Joe. Now don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing average about Richie’s talent. He’s a brilliant song writer who has created some of the most indelible pop songs of our generation, both with the Commodores and as a solo artist. But place Richie alongside Boy George, Prince, Cyndi Lauper, Cameo or David Lee Roth and it’s remarkable that the relatively mild mannered pop star didn’t get lost amidst the flash of his fellow music artists.

Ok – so Richie may not have had the moves of Prince, the mystique of Cameo, the quirky affability of Cyndi Lauper, the cool of Hall & Oates, or the sex appeal of Duran Duran. But he did have an album full of perfect pop songs –  including “Hello,” – which went to number one on both the R&B and Pop charts in May 1984. “Hello” also produced one of greatest music videos of the 1980s.

Following the video check out the 6 greatest things about Lionel Richie’s “Hello”.

This post is in response to the Daily Posts’s – Writing Challenge.

6. Lionel Richie’s Acting. Before the song starts Richie busts out some serious acting chops. He is quite convincing as an obsessed drama teacher. James Lipton eat your heart out!

Hello Hallway

5. Sweet Song, Creepy Plot: Lionel plays a drama coach who is also stalking one of his students. Ballet class? He’s there. Lunch break? He’s there! Drama Class? Well, sure he’s there because he’s the drama teacher – but still! Does this community college of the visual and performing arts perform background checks on their teachers?

4. Michael Peters Cameo! The great choreographer appears as Lionel Richie’s love interest’s dance instructor. Peters was the absolute best. In addition to Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield” he also choreographed the dance numbers in Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” and “Thriller” videos (discussed here). These are pop culture gifts! All hail Michael Peters!

Laura Carrington

 

3. The Blind Student. Was there anyone prettier than Laura Carrington? Oh man, why wasn’t she a bigger star?

 

 

2. The Call is coming from inside the house! Int, Night, Dark House: “A Blind woman steps out of shower, she’s alone in the the house and then . . . the phone rings!!!” Is this a horror movie or a music video? OR BOTH?!?!

And the number one greatest thing about Lionel Richie’s “Hello” . . .

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David Byrne: Now & Then

Byrne 84

When pop music stars find themselves establishing relatively long careers (’10 years and I still have a record contract!’) they have to make decisions about how they’ll continue their time in the spotlight. Some fight tooth and nail to maintain their relevancy – working hard to remain on top of the charts and in the hearts and minds of young music fans by any means necessary. And then there are the musicians who – decade after decade – keep their foothold in the zeitgeist without any air of desperation. They’re cool, not pandering. They create music for themselves and it’s up to us whether we decide to come along for the ride.

Why a big hat?

Why a big hat?

David Byrne is decidedly in the latter category – a fact confirmed for me by his performance at the William Onyeabor tribute this past weekend at BAM. David Byrne shared the stage with more than a dozen other musicians but all eyes in the mostly 20/30-something crowd seemed fixed on him. I know I was focused on him  – happy to have a chance to see him perform live, yet again.

 

 

During the show I flash-backed to 1984 (something I’ve been doing a lot of since I began this blog), the year Talking Heads released the seminal concert film Stop Making Sense (if you love music and/or film and haven’t seen this movie – PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE rent/stream/purchase it. It’s absolutely perfect! Director Jonathan Demme captures Talking Heads at their peak. The camera knows exactly when to push in, pull back or just sit still and let the band do its work.)

Comparing Byrne’s performances in Stop Making Sense and at BAM reveal to me 1) his remarkable consistency in style and interests 2) how he is just as entertaining but has grown even more fascinating over the past 30 years.

See what I mean? I love the idea that all of the people in the audience thought they were going to a rock show – but instead Reverend Byrne took them to CHURCH! Is this the sound of secular gospel music channeled through RISD and CBGB? Is this the moment when the New Testament of world music begins to replace the Old Testament of rock and roll? Is the pastor in the big suit possessed by the holy spirit? Is he Speaking in Tongues?

Ok – so I’m no Jonathan Demme, but I hope this clip conveys both the joy the audience and Byrne is experiencing. In Stop Making Sense – I feel like I’m watching DAVID BYRNE –  a persona created for the concert. It’s an ecstatic performance but I have no idea what’s going on under the slicked back hair and the big suit? Is he enjoying himself? Does he like his bandmates? What does he think of the audience? All of that mystery is intriguing but 30 years of it would have probably grown tiresome. Today – I think we get a pretty good glimpse of the actual man. Look at him – he’s SMILING. He seems sincerely happy to be on this stage, performing music he loves, to a crowd of 2,000 fans.

Over the years, Byrne (like David Bowie and Annie Lennox) – dropped the character. He’s less overtly odd – but has become more interesting. He’s openly pursued his musical passions and followed his creative impulses. I’m sure the ego is there and he wants to succeed, but I think the music comes first. If only other artists from the 80’s felt the same way. David Byrne collaborating with St. Vincent seems inspired. Madonna performing with Miley Cyrus seems really sad.

I haven’t followed all of Byrne’s efforts over the past 3 decades but it’s a pleasure to know that even when the masses may not be paying attention – he continues creating, innovating, writing – and doing what he does best – being David Byrne.

 

The Poetry of Queen: Radio Ga Ga

Queen image

A song lamenting the loss of radio’s popularity that produced a music video that went into heavy rotation on MTV. There’s a bit of a contradiction there, no? But Queen owned this irony. They included clips from their previously popular music videos in the video for Radio Ga Ga and took partial responsibility for killing the radio star.

But there isn’t anything ironic about the song’s lyrics or Freddie Mercury’s performance. Straightforward and earnest. The band is wearing their nostalgia like a badge of honor.

I can relate.

I’d sit alone and watch your light

My only friend through teenage nights

And everything I had to know

I heard it on my radio

——————————————————–

So don’t become some background noise

A backdrop for the girls and boys

Who just don’t know or just don’t care

And just complain when you’re not there

You had your time, you had the power

You’ve yet to have your finest hour

Radio.

All we hear is Radio ga ga

Radio goo goo

Radio ga ga

All we hear is Radio ga ga

Radio blah blah

Radio what’s new?

Radio, someone still loves you!

Michael Jackson’s Thriller: Let the Truth Unfurl (Part 2)

mj-thriller-1984

Michael Jackson’s Thriller ended its 80 week run at the top of the album charts in April 1984. I’ve pulled together 3 MJ acolytes to discuss Jackson’s masterpiece. In our previous discussion we talked about our favorite and least favorite songs on the album, whether we consider Thriller perfect, and what drove Michael to create one of the most successful albums in history.

Part 2

Sean: We’ve discussed Michael’s music – now let’s talk about the videos from Thriller.

Norman: He was a visual artist – he was one of the first visual artists and those videos (from Thriller) are incredible!

Sean: He was the first black artist to be played on MTV. Before 1983 MTV did not play black artists in heavy rotation.

Norman: That was 1983? That’s within my lifetime! And that was just ok with people?

Shana : Well Walter Yetnikoff got gangsta with it – you know that story. He was the head of CBS records and Michael was really pissed that he did not get the cover of Rollingstone after “Off the Wall,” and he was accusing the industry of being racist – rightfully so. But when MTV wouldn’t play (Billie Jean from Thriller) because they said it wasn’t their ‘audience’ – Walter Yetnikoff was like – I will pull all of our artists’ videos from your network if you do not play Michael’s videos. Which was at a time when it mattered to artists to have their videos played on that network. And that’s what set everything in motion.

Sean: And I love that Michael was like – you want rock? Here’s “Beat it”. You like R&B – here’s “Billie Jean”.

Norman: You like amazing novelty yet soul/funk? Here’s “Thriller”!

Sean: So what’s everyone’s favorite video from Thriller?

Norman: “Thriller”. That goes without saying, right?

mj-beat-itShana: I think my favorite is “Beat It”.

Sean: I’m going to say “Beat It” as well. It’s concise, it’s tight, it tells a story and has some of the most memorable choreography in music video history. Plus “Beat It” was so good he decided to make it again and call it “Bad”. “Bad” is basically ‘Beat It Part 2..’

Norman: There are only 3 videos from the album Thriller – “Billie Jean”, “Beat It”, “Thriller”.

Sean:  I’m sad that there was not a video for “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin”.

Norman: Or “Human Nature”. I’ve seen the “Human Nature” video in my head!

Sean: Me too! It’s black and white – lots of beauty shots of NYC at night.

Norman: Yes!

Sean: Christine – what’s your favorite video from Thriller?

jackson-lays-down-some-moves-in-the-zombie-dance-scene-from-his-1982-thriller-music-video-ctChristine: I can’t answer this question without sounding like a hypocrite (Note: in our previous post Christine admitted the song “Thriller” was her least favorite on the album). The “Thriller” video is obviously my favorite. “Thriller” changed music video as we knew it.

Norman: Thriller is the best music video of all time! Of any artist! Ever! No video has come out that is better than Thriller!

Shana: But the best doesn’t have to be your favorite.

Sean: It’s two for “Beat It”, two for “Thriller”. Ok – most important question for everyone – can you do the “Thriller” dance?

Shana: Not in its entirety.

Norman: Not in its entirety.

Christine: No.

Sean: I’m disappointed in all of you. Ok – let’s move on and discuss the aftermath of Thriller.

Shana: I’d argue in the scheme of things that Thriller was the moment Michael – who was always a performer his whole life – really just wanted to devote himself and almost sacrifice himself to the crowd, for the applause. Thriller is the last moment in his career when he made an album that was solely for the fans. After that – the albums were a little bit more for him. Bad, for example. He made that album when he was going through some stuff so he comes out with really personal songs like “Leave Me Alone” and “Dirty Diana” and “Another Part of Me”.

Norman: I don’t think Bad is like that  – I think it (Michael working out his personal demons phase) comes later. I think Bad was trying to completely be Thriller Part Two.

Shana: No!

Norman: He had every intention of making an album that was just as successful.

Shana: I think he became much more personal making Bad. Thriller was the least autobiographical.

Sean: But the most popular.

Norman: Thriller was for us. It was The Passion of the Jackson!

Cuz-this-is-Thriller-michael-jackson-13030300-1213-912

You Might Also Like my Countdown of the Best Post-Thriller Michael Jackson Songs in 1984:

Michael Jackson at his best in 1984

#2 – Centipede

#3 – Say Say Say

#4 – Tell Me I’m Not Dreamin’ (Too Good To Be True)

#5 – Farewell My Summer Love

#6 – Somebody’s Watching Me

 

Number One this Week in 1984: Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now) by Phil Collins

Thirty years ago this week Phil Collins scored the number one pop song in the country with “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now),” a song he’d written for the film Against All Odds. There’s no denying this is a great ballad and also one of the great soundtrack tunes from a year that produced many amazing songs from films (including Ghostbusters, Footloose, Sixteen Candles, Breakin’, Eurythmics’ 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother), and of course Purple Rain). I liked the song but never developed a real love for it. I wanted to give the song its due so I invited my friend Caroline to share her very passionate feelings for it. In addition to being a Phil Collins devotee, Caroline is also the author of the hysterical blog  Cringeworthy Stuff from My Journal. Prepare for the most emotional post this blog has ever seen!

Sean: Caroline, what are your memories of this song?

Caroline: I know it’s from a movie (Against All Odds) but I’ve not seen this movie. I was only 11 when the song came out but I absolutely loved it – and still do. I really think it’s a beautiful song. I don’t know if it stirred something in my pre-pubescent self – but of course I had no grasp of what the song was really about. I knew it was about love – in the abstract. I knew it was something about someone leaving you. I knew it was devastating. That was it. But I really thought that it was an emotionally wrought song and Phil Collins’ vocals were amazing and … this is all so embarrassing to admit!

Sean: So what’s your favorite moment of the song?

Caroline: It has to be towards the end when it sort of crescendos into that very passionate moment where he says, ‘Take a GOOD look at me now,’ instead of just ‘take a look at me now,’ as he has previously.

Sean: That ‘GOOD,” means he means it!

Caroline: He means it this time, with FEELING! And then it’s like a huge emotional moment but then it just goes back into the lilting piano of the beginning, very soft, very calm. I like the way it resolves. I love that moment. It’s very powerful

Sean: I can tell this is an emotional journey for you, both as an 11 year old girl and as a grown woman.

Caroline: And I don’t even know why. I remember seeing the video which of course had clips from the movie . And something very dramatic was going on, I couldn’t tell you what exactly.

Sean: I’ve never seen the movie either but based on the video i sense there’s infidelity. I also sense that at the end of the film someone drives into a garbage truck.

Caroline: A dramatic death scene perhaps! Very dramatic. My only beef with the song when I was younger was that I felt it should be longer. I felt there was a verse missing. As a child I remember thinking after the bridge there should be one more moment and I was sad it wasn’t longer – but today when I was listening to it it felt perfect at 3 and a half minutes.

Sean: For some reason I remember it being 12 minutes long. Ok now be honest with me – did you have a poster of Phil Collins on your bedroom wall?

Caroline: Surprisingly no -I did love the song, I did love many other Phil Collins songs but, however, I did not find him cute. Unlike Huey Lewis who did feature prominently on my wall, I did not have a poster of Phil Collins.

Sean: We’re going to deal with Huey Lewis AND The News in a future post. But back to Phil – no insult to him – but he is not the sexiest pop star – so applause to him for having number one songs without being a looker.

Caroline: Exactly – and I think he was genuinely a good singer.

Sean: A lot of people have covered this song. Mariah Carey famously. Have you heard the Mariah version?

Caroline: No – but I don’t know if Mariah can compete with Phil on this one. You don’t mess with the classics.

Note: I later played Mariah’s version for Caroline who had this to say: “Oooh she does a good job!! But that’s no shock- she’s Mariah, after all. I like hearing a woman sing it. But she doesn’t do the end justice like Phil did!!!! Too screechy.”)

Sean: This song knocked Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose” out of the number one spot back in April, 1984. Do you remember that? How did you feel about it?

Caroline: I did like “Footloose” a lot but it did not have the emotional pull for me that “Against All Odds” did.

Sean: I envision 11 year old Caroline sitting in her bedroom listening to Casey Kasem’s Top 40 and dancing for joy when he announced “Against All Odds” stole the number one spot from “Footloose”.

Caroline: Absolutely – there may have even been tears. There was definitely a dash to the boom box to try to capture it on tape. And It stays with me as a song I just love. I don’t hear it very often anymore. I don’t even know if I can tell you why –  all I can do is just tell you I love it, I think it’s a beautiful song and it’s obviously still resonating with me today.

Sean: I think you’re tearing up right now. That’s a fact. Thank you for talking with me and sharing your thoughts about a song I could not muster the passion or emotion to write about myself. Maybe I’m dead inside, I don’t know. Thank you Caroline

Caroline: No problem. My pleasure. I look forward to our chat on Huey Lewis.

 

Screamer of the Week: You Take Me Up by Thompson Twins. This Week in 1984

During the third week of April, 1984, Thompson Twins won the Screamer of the Week with “You Take Me Up,” the third single from Into the Gap.  This song is the band at its most earnest – and its best. They seem to be taking a stab at something close to Blue Grass – and it works. The harmonica, the call and response, the lack of synthesizers (are those real cowbell I hear?).  And most importantly, the song answers the musical question: ‘what’s the solution to being caught up in an oppressive post-industrial economic system that depends on forced labor?’ The answer? Love, of course!

The video takes that idea even further. ‘What do you do when you are wrongly convicted of a crime and placed on a chain gang?’ Why, you sing about love and magically free yourself (even more effective than DNA testing)!

My favorite moment comes 2:00 in when Tom Bailey belts out the lyric

I believe in TODAY!

(believe boy, believe boy)

It’s better that way when you work through the night.

That’s a pretty good lyric, isn’t it. I’ll admit that when I worked in news and found myself on the night shift I’d sing that line to myself every once in awhile. I may have secretly hoped Tom, Joe, and Allanah would bust me out of my corporate media chain gang and allow me to bounce off into the sunset with them. I’ll also admit I may still be waiting.

Additional Screamer of the Week posts:

The Psychedelic Furs – Heaven

Prince and the Revolution – When Doves Cry

R.E.M. – Pretty Persuasion